Land and water hemispheres

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The Land Hemisphere
The Land Hemisphere
The Water Hemisphere
The Water Hemisphere
Frontal views of the hemispheres
Land Hemisphere top, Water Hemisphere bottom (side views)

The land and water hemispheres of Earth, sometimes capitalised as the Land Hemisphere and Water Hemisphere, are the hemispheres of Earth containing the largest possible total areas of land and ocean, respectively. By definition (assuming that the entire surface can be classed as either "land" or "ocean") the two hemispheres do not overlap.

Determinations of the hemispheres vary slightly. One determination places the centre of the Land Hemisphere at 47°13′N 1°32′W / 47.217°N 1.533°W / 47.217; -1.533 (in the city of Nantes, France).[1] The center of the water hemisphere is the antipode of the center of the land hemisphere, and is therefore located at 47°13′S 178°28′E / 47.217°S 178.467°E / -47.217; 178.467, near New Zealand's Bounty Islands in the Pacific Ocean.[1]

An alternative assignment determines the centre of the Land Hemisphere to be at 47°24′42″N 2°37′15″W / 47.411667°N 2.620833°W / 47.411667; -2.620833 (in île Dumet near Saint-Nazaire, France).[2][3]

Distribution of geographical features

The Land Hemisphere has the substantial majority of the planet's land (80.1%), including Europe, Africa, North America, nearly all of Asia and most of South America. However, even in the Land Hemisphere, the ocean area still slightly exceeds the land area (about 53% ocean and 47% land). The Land Hemisphere is almost identical to the hemisphere containing the greatest human population.[4] The Land Hemisphere contains most of the Earth's inland waters, including the Caspian Sea, North American Great Lakes, African Great Lakes, and Lake Baikal.

The Water Hemisphere has only about one-eighth of the world's land,[1] including Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, the Maritime Southeast Asia, and the Southern Cone of the Americas. Antarctica is solely within the water hemisphere. Some sources[1] further divide land into "dry land" and "icecap". Antarctica provides the Water Hemisphere with the majority of Earth's ice.

Most of the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean, and the whole Southern Ocean, are on the water hemisphere. Proportionately, the Water Hemisphere is approximately 89% water (almost all pertaining to the World Ocean), 6% dry land and 5% polar ice cap.[1]

The table below follows the assignments of Alphonse Berget of land to the two hemispheres.[2]

Continent Area in land hemisphere (km²)
Area in water hemisphere (km2)
Africa 29,818,400 0
Americas 34,955,670 3,391,010
Antarctica 0 13,120,000
Asia 40,897,241 3,245,649
Australia and the Pacific Islands 0 8,958,630
Europe 9,732,250 0
Land area within hemisphere 115,403,561 (80.1%) 28,715,289 (19.9%)

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Boggs, Samuel Whittemore (December 1945). "This Hemisphere". Journal of Geography. 44 (9): 345–355. doi:10.1080/00221344508986498.
  2. ^ a b Berget, Alphonse (1913). "Répartition géographique des Océans (détermination du pôle continental)". 10 (in French). V. Annales de l'Institut océanographique. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  3. ^ "L'ILE DUMET: LE NOMBRIL DU MONDE". France Secret (in French). Archived from the original on 10 November 2013.
  4. ^ "How Much of Humanity is on Your Side of World?". Brilliant Maps. 27 September 2015. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
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